Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Laxminath Bejbarua and his stay at Sambalpur


 Laxminath Bejbarua (1868-1938): Came Sambalpur in 1917 stayed up to 1937  

On 14th October 1868 (Lakmi Purnima night ), Lakminath Bejbarua was born at Nagaon in Assam. He passed away at Dibrugad on 26th March 1938. He passed out Matriculation from Shibsagar Government High School. He did his graduation from City College, Kolkata and M.A. and B.L from Kolkata University.
Sahityarathi Laxminath was born in Assam, educated in West Bengal and service and literary activity at Sambalpur.
His contribution to Sambalpur was immense, but Sambalpur did not remember him properly. It is learnt that, his house at Sambalpur has been  sold by his daughter Aruna to a local person. Now, it is occupied by a State Government office, after the lease expired. The land is disputed and the related case is lying in the  Odisha High Court. It is learnt that, Assam Government wants to spend more than Rupees One Crore in this land at Sambalpur ,and build a Smruti Bhawan  in the memory of Sahityarathi Laxminath Bejbarua.  As such, Orissa Government should not be silent on the matter.
      The Birth centenary of Laxminath Bejbarua was celebrated by Koshal Sahitya Samaja on 20th October 1968. Dr Shraddhakar Supkar,  Sunil Mishra and Dr Hadibandhu Mirdha organized the function at Sambalpur. During the celebration , an oil paint of Bejbarua was unveiled at the Municipality Hall. 150th Birth Centenery was also celebrated at Sambalpur  by Smruti Comitee on 24th December 2013. Karunakar Supkar and Deepak Kumar Panda, organized the function on 24th December 2013. Professor  B.C. Barik, Vice Chancellar ,Sambalpur University and Professor B.C. Dash from Assam (Central ) University were the Chief Guest and Chief Speaker respectively on the occasion. 
Laxminath Bejbarua was posted by Bird Company to send timber products from Sambalpur area. He came on September 4th 1917 to Sambalpur . He started his own business of timber products and continued to stay for long period of 20 years. When he first arrived, he stayed with Jogendra Nath Sen, the Government Pleader. Saroj kumari Devi, wife of J.N.Sen was very hospitable. Then he stayed with Dr Janardan Pujari ,then in a rented house at Kunjelpada.

On 19th April 1924, Laxminath entered to his own house near European club (Mahanadi Club). There were 12 rooms in the house. There existed a road in front of the house, and river Mahanadi behind the house. Office of the Political Agent was located opposite the road and Government Pleader J.N.Sen’s house was located nearby. Laxminath was fond of flowers and plants. A nice garden about which he has mentioned in his auto biography ‘ Mor Jiban Smaran’ written at Sambalpur existed.  He had a house at Jharsuguda , another in Meghpal area for convenience for his works.
Laxminath had married to Pragyasundari Devi, the niece of poet Rabindra Nath Tagore. Rabindra Nath Tagore’s wife had come to Sambalpur and stayed with Laxminath for some days. On 20th November 1920, his eldest daughter Aruna got married to Satyabrata Mukherji of Kolkatta. On 23rd November 1928 , his second daughter Ratna got married to Mohini Kumar Barua of Dibrugad. On this occasion, Chandra Kumar Agrawal from Sambalpur had visited with his family. His third daughter Dipika got converted to Christian religion in 1932, which he did not appreciate, as learnt from his auto-biography.  
Laxminath was a council member In Sambalpur Municipality. He also assisted in construction of the Municipal Building. He was the Chairman of Executive body of Girls High School. He was interested in making arrangement and acting himself in drama at Sambalpur. He organized Rabindranath Tagore’s drama “ Kalamrugaya”, and acted as ‘Japu’.

His residence at Sambalpur
Many people called him as ‘Japu’da after acting as ‘Japu’. He was also interested in  hunting. His friends for hunting were the Deputy Commisioner, forest contractor Mohammad Khan, Narsingh Pradhan of Gadgadbahal  and others. 
‘Jayamati’  the first film in Assamese language was based on his drama book ’ Jayamati Kuanri’ . Shooting of  the film was done between 1933 to 1935. In total, production charges of the film was Rs Fifty Thousand only. Jyoti Prasad Agrawal was producer and director . On 1935 March 10, it was released in Ronak theater.
Laxminath left Sambalpur on 18th August 1937 on way to Dibrugad to stay with his second daughter Ratna. At Dibrugad, he passed away on 26th March 1938.

Postage Stamp
With Family

Present look-One of his Houses